After Holiday Weight Gain Blues

22 01 2019

Travel and Food Go Together – Pacing oneself is the challenge.

Last updated 22 Jan 19, by Marc Woodard

Another year has gone by with all the Holiday decor and cheer with it. I understand some of you had a tough time with the food choices and amount that you consumed; and last year’s weight loss resolution didn’t work out so well.

With that being said, should I dare say some of you are not only bummed out after you stepped on the scale, you have the weight gain blues.

There are many reasons weight gain occurs. I would never tell you I know exactly what you are going through. However I do know, out-of-control weight gain is often attached to an emotional lifestyle change. And those changes often trigger over consumption of food and drink – especially during and after the Holiday season, or vacations. And this can lead to acute-to-chronic depression for many.

There is also an illness-disease relationship associated with unhealthy body weight – especially once we become obese. At this point the mind-body becomes susceptible to greater health risk. For example, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), congenital heart disease, fibromyalgia-phantom pain, etc. A daily habit of over eating may also increase other bad habits, i.e., smoking, drinking, illicit drug or unnecessary pharmaceutical use.

In general, stressful life events cannot be avoided. But can be stress-minimized through understanding the environmental triggers causing them. Regardless of season, or any day for that matter… you must learn how to target and identify the physical, mental and/or social triggers causing the emotional stress keeping you overweight and unfit and do something about it.

Unfortunately for some – the over weight condition may be the result of a genetic or metabolic factor, Which may have less to do with lifestyle habits and behavior – but more to do with an inefficient calorie burning furnace. Any long-term weight gain that threatens health should seek medical attention immediately from a physician.

Recreational Activity Does a Body Good.

Below I’ve listed a few behavioral habit forming relationships that can be changed before and after any holiday season or vacation to help reduce body fat weight gain and achieve the weight loss goal.

8 Lifestyle Changes You can Make to Achieve Your New Years Resolution Weight Loss Goal.

  1. Holiday Cheer Weight Gain – What can I say about Holiday Cheer that I haven’t mentioned in my previous writings.  Have a Holiday battle meal plan before you set down at the table.  Read the following article, “10 Step Basic Weight Loss Tips.”
  2.  Last Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight Failed – You know why you failed your weight loss program from previous years. You did not resolve, or change your eating, drinking, or exercise habits. To do so is still too painful for whatever the reason. Until you resolve and/or get serious about your weight loss goal, or seek professional help, regardless of who provides you weight loss tips, services or program… you’ll likely continue to struggle with body weight.
  3.  Pain factor – All pain is directly related to illness, disease and/or injury. And with pain comes more sedentary habits. It is for this reason, it is more important than ever you work with your primary physician and pain management specialists to find treatment and activity that’s right for you. If you have mental and physical pain that’s not been diagnosed – seek advisement and referrals from your primary care physician.
  4.  Stressful life events cause excess calorie consumption– For many the habit of eating more calories than needed may come from everyday stresses caused by work or home environment, or bad relationship with spouse, friend or family member. Or the stress could be caused by some other non-diagnosed physical and mental pain from childhood. Stress events can culminate and increase a depression mood that causes one to eat more in an attempt to feel better. Once you target the cause of your stress induced bad habit and/or behavior and remove it… it’s more likely you’ll succeed in a safe weight program over a set period of time.
  5.  Carry the party into New Year – Some carry the end of year festivities into the new year. This behavior can last for months, or the entire year. This continued habit will not help you lose weight or remove the depression umbrella. “First and foremost, you must understand this is occurring and must break this unhealthy habit.” As one ages and the habit continues – health risk increases.
  6.  Fast foods after the Holiday’s. Too many Americans consume fast foods especially during the Holidays. Here lies a crux for much of the American obesity problem. During this time of year there is a huge spike in fast foods and alcohol sales. Yes, business booms almost in every sector of the economy. Fast foods are convenient, chemically addictive and bad for health in the long run. I know you’re thinking, what if I just give up the fast food places and eat out at restaurants? While this is a better concept, you don’t know how much of those meals are processed with unhealthy garbage causing your weight gain. Also when you eat out – most tend to eat more. Instead develop a healthy whole foods shopping habit and limit yourself to 1 fast food meal a week. I highly recommend you read, “Restaurant and Grocery Foods Healthy?
  7.  Love of Baking – I know, some of you carry your new found baking habits into the new year. Although there is nothing wrong with cooking your own food, the pitfall is when you love everything you bake just a little too much. I know the kids love your home made cookies, cakes and pies. Remember moderation with deserts. Too much sugar, fat and salt is not good for anyone, even children with fast metabolisms. If you’re having a tough time changing up your baking habit – try becoming a little more creative by offering different types of deserts… fresh fruits, jello, pudding, etc. Mix it up and break away from the continuous high fat baking habit.
  8.  Empty Nester’s Bake for an Army – Regardless of season, there are many who continue to cook for an entire family after the children have left home. There are many things tied into this habit. This is a tough habit to change – especially if the spouse demands traditional family recipes. If you continue to cook this way, you’ll not reduce food portions – it will be more challenging to meet your weight loss goal.

Once you target the cause of your weight gain nemesis and make healthier lifestyle choices that include daily exercise activities – your fitness levels and health will improve dramatically, while achieving your weight loss resolution once and for all.

Good health to you and your family!

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET2019 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





Monitor Fitness Progress without Trainer Services

24 01 2015
Walking beaches is great aerobic exercise.

Walking beaches is great aerobic exercise.

How to monitor and sustain healthy body weight, appearance, physical performance and fitness levels like a pro, and without spending any money.

Believe it or not, if you use a weight scale and monitor two bodily vitals; blood pressure and heart rate, these measurements provide a good indicator of oxygen utilization, fat burning capacity, metabolic efficiencies and overall health condition.  There is a direct correlation between these particular vitals, fitness levels, health and physical results thereof.

For example when you fall within a healthy heart rate and blood pressure range it is much easier to achieve your fitness goals.  For example, when oxygen enriched blood circulates unobstructed throughout the body, it is easier to achieve a desired body weight, improve muscle tone, increase strength and cardio-muscular endurance and flexibility [Range of Motion].

The basics of vitals monitoring as related to healthy blood circulation and heart-lung circulatory capacity is pretty easy to understand.  If your heart rate and blood pressure fall within a normal range for your age, it is easier to begin, improve and advance a fitness goal, or improve health condition.  Likewise, if these vitals are outside normal ranges, it makes exercise and will power to start and continue more difficult, while health risk increases.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

If you’re interested in determining how your blood pressure and heart rate stack up against a comparable populace, or want to date and record vitals baseline at no cost to compare future results, visit a local pharmacy.

Almost every retail store pharmacy has a free blood pressure cuff and heart rate monitoring station.  I can’t resist using the cuff to see if my vitals are within a normal range, or if I need to work on diet, exercise, or visit my doctor.  Pay attention to the blood pressure and heart rate charts, then document your results.  If your blood pressure and heart rate are significantly below or above age standards seek medical consultation.  Regardless of the results, write them down and use them as a historical vitals comparison and/or share them with a medical professional.  Then check at a later point in time to see if diet and exercise activity improves past results.

If you’re too far outside a normal range health risk increases.  Or the test equipment is out of calibration.  I’ve experienced faulty cuff monitoring stations a couple of times. Then visited another pharmacy and vitals were fine.  If you get the same readings at 2 separate locations, seek medical advisement and testing.

Blood pressure and heart rate indicators tell us a lot about metabolism and circulatory-heart health.  When blood pressure and heart rate are too low or high relative to sedentary and daily exercise activity; the metabolism, hormone and circulatory systems are experiencing cellular and functional stress.  For example, body fat may continue to store and add load to weight bearing joints causing pain and further health risk, while effecting the fat burning furnace.

The weight scale is probably one of the most convenient measuring devices I use. Body weight is either up or down.  If you’re up, concentrate on balanced diet and meal proportions and aerobic exercise activity to burn more body fat.  You’ll also note in many cases, when body weight is up, so is blood pressure and heart rate.  But not always.

IMG_1168

Walking requires a break with trail mix fuel to re-energize and endure the long haul hike back onto the trail.

It is aerobic walking, jogging and moderate running exercise, to include biking and swimming that injects oxygen enriched blood into the circulatory and metabolic systems when optimum aerobic exercise activity occurs…  And no health condition exists at specific efforts of physical intensity.

This physiological fat burning fact is measureable and known as THR (Target Heart Rate) zone, or the fat burning zone.  Which simply means, if you’re in the appropriate aerobic heart rate zone during exercise and performing at specific aerobic effort of intensity, you’ll burn more body fat.

Use the simple THR formula below to monitor HR and stay within the Fat Burning zone.  Then follow the 40 year old client example to apply formula on self to burn more fat fuel.

   Simple formula: ((220 – age) x Intensity of Effort%/6) = Beats per Minute (BPM)

Plug in your intensity % to determine heart rate range and stay within the fat burning zone and lose more body fat weight.

Intensity of Aerobic Effort Percentages:  50 – 60% – Efficient fat burning zone, 60 – 70% – Optimize fat burning furnace.  71 – 100% – Increasing physical effort beyond 70% begins to step up a greater anaerobic lactic acid environment.

First determine your maximum heart rate by taking 220 – age.  For example, if your 40 years old, your heart beats per minute would be 180 (220 – 40 = 180 bpm).

Then multiply 180 by 50% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the lower aerobic intensity range (180 x .50 = 90 BPM).

Or multiply 180 by 60-70% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the higher aerobic intensity range (180 x .70 = 126 BPM).

“These calculations provide only estimates of your heart rate maximum and cardiovascular work zone. To precisely determine your individual heart rate maximum, you would need to undergo physical testing, like in an exercise science lab (Richey 2013).” [ref:  http://www.livestrong.com/article/260503-cardio-heart-rate-formula/%5D

To learn more about THR click on the following link “How Cardio-Muscular Endurance Melts off Pounds.”

I use both vitals tracking and body weight weekly and TRH zone monitoring as quarterly practise to determine my level of fitness and overall health condition for my age group.

I make adjustments to daily diet and exercise activity if my numbers begin to fall outside an unfit range.  I also have blood draws taken every 6 months.  Blood lab results are great indicators of internal bodily functions and health condition.   if your dietary glucose (sugars), Cholesterol and Triglycerides (blood fats) are too high…  do journal these results for later comparisons against adjusted diet and exercise programed changes.

Continue to read all MirrorAthlete Fitness Secret articles.  Learn more about how to further improve fitness levels, reduce health risk, look and feel better and live longer in good health.

Save money learning how to customize your own fitness and nutrition  programs.  But in no way do I advocate avoidance of medical advisement, examination and/or treatment.  It is wise to see your doctor on a regular basis.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET 2015 MirrorAthlete® Copyright.  All rights. reserved.www.mirrorathlete.com


 





Monitor Fitness and Health Like a Pro

24 01 2015
Walking beaches is great aerobic exercise.

Walking beaches is great low-impact aerobic exercise activity.

How to monitor and sustain healthy body weight, appearance, physical performance and fitness levels like a pro, and without spending any money.

Believe it or not, if you use a weight scale and monitor two bodily vitals; blood pressure and heart rate, these measurements provide a good indicator of oxygen utilization, fat burning capacity, metabolic efficiencies and overall health condition.  There is a direct correlation between these particular vitals, fitness levels, health and physical results.

For example when you fall within a healthy heart rate and blood pressure range it is much easier to achieve fitness and health goals.  When oxygen enriched blood circulates unobstructed throughout the body, it is easier to achieve a desired body weight, improve muscle tone, increase strength and cardio-muscular endurance and flexibility [Range of Motion]; and sustain health and wellbeing.

The basics of vitals monitoring as related to healthy blood circulation and heart-lung circulatory capacity is pretty easy to understand.  If your heart rate and blood pressure fall within a normal range for your age, it is easier to begin, improve and advance a fitness goal, or improve health condition.  Likewise, if these vitals are outside normal range, it makes exercise more difficult to begin and sustain the effort and health risk increases.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

Start a New Activity and Meet New People.

If you’re interested in determining how your blood pressure and heart rate stack up against a comparable populace, or want to date and record vitals at no cost and compare future results, visit a local pharmacy.

Almost every retail store pharmacy has a free blood pressure cuff and heart rate monitoring station.

Free Self Check Vitals Services,

I can’t resist using the arm cuff station at the local pharmacy store to see if my vitals are within a normal range, or if I need to work on diet, exercise, or visit my doctor.  Pay attention to the blood pressure and heart rate charts at the station, then document your results.  If your blood pressure and heart rate are significantly below or above vitals standards seek medical consultation.  Regardless of the results, write them down and use them as a historical baseline comparison and/or share them with a medical professional.

If you’re significantly outside a normal vitals range for your age in comparison to previous results the station may be out of calibration.  I’ve experienced faulty cuff monitoring stations a couple of times.   To test this theory I’ve visited another pharmacy store the same day and vitals were normal for my age.  If you get “at risk” readings at 2 separate store locations, seek medical advisement.

Blood pressure and heart rate indicators tell us a lot about metabolism and circulatory-heart health.  When blood pressure and heart rate are too low or high the body is experiencing circulatory and cardio functional stress.  These are warning signs that should not be ignored.  Typically but not always, when body fat weight is high so are vitals.

The weight scale is probably one of the most convenient measuring devices I use. Body weight is either up or down.  If you’re up, concentrate on balanced diet and aerobic exercise activity to burn more body fat.

IMG_1168

Take a break, enjoy the day and fuel up to continue healthy activities.

It is aerobic walking, jogging and moderate running, biking and swimming, etc., exercise that injects oxygen enriched blood into the circulatory and cardio systems during low-impact aerobic exercise activity that burns more body fat.

During low-impact aerobic exercise fat burning occurs and is measureable when activity is within the THR (Target Heart Rate) zone, or the fat burning zone.

Which simply means, if you’re in the aerobic heart rate fat burning zone during exercise, you’ll burn more body fat.

Use the simple THR formula below to monitor HR during activity and stay within the Fat Burning zone.  Then apply formula during exercise to lose more body fat weight.

To use Simple formula below, first determine aerobic effort you want to apply and stay within that fat burning zone during exercise.  Using the Simple formula plug in 50 – 70% to burn more fat:

For example, Intensity of Aerobic Effort Percentages:  50 – 60% – Efficient fat burning zone, 60 – 70% – Optimize fat burning furnace.  71 – 100% – Increasing physical effort beyond 70% begins to step up a greater anaerobic lactic acid and the metabolism burns less fat.

 Simple formula: ((220 – age) x Intensity of Effort%/6) = Beats per Minute (BPM)

Then determine your maximum heart rate take 220 – age.  If your 40 years old for example  (220 – 40 = 180).

Then multiply 180 by 50% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the lower aerobic intensity range (180 x .50 = 90 BPM).

Or multiply 180 by 60-70% THR and physical effort needed to burn fat at the higher aerobic intensity range (180 x .70 = 126 BPM).

Take 90 or 126 and divide by 6.  Results:  15 and  21 BPM represent a 10 second pulse count you can take during exercise.  Simply monitor pulse at carotid (side of neck) or brachial (wrist) for a 10 second pulse count inbetween exercise.  If you fall within this heart rate range your burning body fat fuel.

“These calculations provide only estimates of your target heart rate,  cardiovascular work zone and fat burning efficiency during exercise.  To precisely determine your individual heart rate maximum, you would need to undergo physical testing, like in an exercise science lab (Richey 2013).” [ref:  http://www.livestrong.com/article/260503-cardio-heart-rate-formula/%5D

To learn more about THR click on the following link “How Cardio-Muscular Endurance Melts off Pounds.”

I’ve used both vitals tracking and body weight weekly and TRH zone monitoring to adjust exercise activity, improve health and determine level of fitness condition for my age.

Make adjustments to daily diet and exercise activity if vitals begin to fall outside an unfit range.  Also blood lab results are great indicators of internal health condition.   if your dietary glucose (sugars), Cholesterol and Triglycerides (blood fats) are too high…  journal these results for future comparisons after adjusted diet and exercise program changes.

Continue to read all MirrorAthlete Fitness Secret articles.  Learn more on how to further improve fitness levels, reduce health risk, look and feel better and live life to the fullest.  And be sure to visit your doctor for frequent medical checkups.  And when you do, present your self monitoring data, nutrition and exercise habits and past vs. present blood test results for further medical advisement.

Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET 2015 MirrorAthlete® Copyright.  All rights. reserved.www.mirrorathlete.com


 





Successful Weight Loss Based in Blood Chemistry Fuel

24 02 2010

Geese Are Good Source of Protein, But I'd Rather Watch Than Consume These Beautiful Birds.

Doctor’s and Dieticians tell us to limit bad fats “saturated (animal products, meat, eggs, etc.) including Trans fats, which also correlates with bad LDL cholesterol and plaque buildup in the arteries.”  Both of these fats are associated with risk for cardiovascular heart disease.  Also diabetics are at great risk for heart attack or stroke.  However, too little saturated fat in the diet replaced by carbohydrates is causing an epidemic of obesity and many secondary health issues.  Just as many current studies now show an inverse relationship in dietary fat.  The more saturated fat in a diet, the less likely men will have an incident of stroke.  Just as post menstrual women with heart disease, a dietary habit of saturated fats had lower risk for heart disease.  It appears saturated fats are necessary in the diet.  Because with animal products, HDL’s (the good cholesterol) is received when metabolized also lowers triglycerides.  High carbohydrates intake appears to be a big part of the puzzle with regard to health problems.  It appears the body chemistry requires a certain amount of saturated fats (not manmade Tran’s fats).  Complete avoidance of animal fats does not seem to be a good ideal as far as the body chemistry is concerned.  Science can not accurately tell us the perfect diet.  But it is overwhelmingly apparent you are better off with a “low carbohydrate diet as opposed from one where you decrease animal products in the diet.

One big common denominator we did not have when I was a kid was obesity run amok.   Nor do I remember the onslaught of fast food restaurant chains we now have and energy, diet drinks, etc..  The only things we really had at that time that I can recall was a McDonald’s and Dairy Queen.  There were also no artificial sweeteners, or to think about it tons of artificial flavorings in products.  Everything was pretty natural.  Even the Swanson TV dinners, meat pot pies (frozen dinner meal) tasted pretty good in the 70’s.  And the other thing I remember as a kid, most of the dinner meals consisted mostly of meat, chicken, fish, potatoes and vegetables with lots of casseroles made out the same main staples.   We didn’t have a lot of fast food conveniences with preserved type foods.  And almost everyone around us had gardens and canned fruits and vegetables.  In today’s society everything has changed to quicker processing, fast distribution and chemical ingredients for taste.  This manmade tactic keeps profits high for corporations at the expense of our children’s health.  It is obvious, there is a big difference in the way our culture consumes food and food selection, compared to the types of food we had when I was a kid.  Be sure to read Restaurant Foods Healthy?”  If you haven’t read this article, you really need to.  Many restaurant chains serve processed everything.  “That’s why it tastes so good; you’re addicted to the food chemicals!”

Also when I was a kid, you rarely heard about heart disease, strokes, diabetes, cancer, etc., compared to today.  And to see an obese kid, that was real rare.  Today, I see kids while I’m on my daily walks that appear to have body fat typical to those in my generation (25-45%).  I’m currently holding around 25% body fat which is considered borderline obesity.  The kids I’m talking about appear to be around 25-60%.  I’m not sure unless they change their eating habits how they’ll fare when they hit their 40’s and 50’s.  I fear our children will experience an epidemic of illness/disease pain and suffering not seen in our generation when they reach our ages.

Now when I look at food and blood chemical science; including my consumption exercise lifestyle today I note the following.  My habits have not changed much from when I was a kid.  For example, I exercise daily through various activity and still consume mostly a meat, potato, chicken, fish and vegetable diet.  However, I do consume the occasional fast food, or additional carbohydrates when pasta’s, breads, chips, soda craving strikes, but not often.  I also did not experience a lot of deserts as a kid.  I guess that’s why I don’t really crave them.  But when I do eat deserts, I do enjoy it.  Of course, when processed foods are so abundant in our food chain a little bit is going to get incorporated into any diet.  And this requires awareness, especially if one is experiencing weight loss difficulties.

Currently, I’m holding 15lbs over “My” ideal body weight with no cardiovascular or circulatory diseases, etc.  As a matter of fact, when I see my doctors’ vital statistics are always taken, “blood pressure and heart rate.”  The following represents my vital averages:  My blood pressure is typically around 122/70 and heart rate 58beats/min and my weight rarely changes unless I reduce consumption, or exercise more.  My last blood results reveal Iwas slightly higher in glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides.  I know what caused this elevation; during the last blood draw period I was simply consuming too many calories and didn’t fast the recommended period.  Even with these flaws in my consumption behavior, my blood tests didn’t send up any health warning red lights.

I attribute my good blood chemistry results to my childhood eating habits.  I eat more organic protein type food sources than carbohydrates.  My blood chemistry reflected a High HDL count (good cholesterol), Low LDL count (bad cholesterol) and low triglycerides (read  “Why you should be concerned about triglycerides“).  My eating habits are still predominately high intake of proteins (40-50%), carbohydrates (20-30%) and fats (~25%).  I know if I cut the carbohydrates in half and increased the proteins my blood chemistry weight regulatory mechanisms would lower my weight over a long period of time.  “I would lose weight slow and safe, not fast like extreme dieting.”  I know this because I’ve experimented with blood chemistry lab results and compared the results and body weight.  I’ve changed my fuel mix and exercise habits based on these results to lose and maintain stable weight.  I also use a weight scale, every other day and base my weight loss balance on how my clothes fit. Recall, exercise increases muscle mass, muscle is heavier than body fat. So weight may not change much while beginning an exercise program as muscle weight increases and fat burns off.  If you’re eating and exercising correctly, through time, you’ll lean out safely while losing body fat without breaking your metabolisms regulatory mechanisms.

Exercise is an important component to a successful weight loss program (see MAE article, How to Exercise, Increase Fitness Levels, Feb 2010).  Regardless of age, this is a fact.  The human body is designed to walk in order to accomplish all tasks necessary in life; as it was from day one.  And to quit walking by becoming a couch potato is the worst habit you or your kids could get yourself into.  If I didn’t participate in daily activity, my slower 50+ metabolism would most likely make it more challenging for me to maintain my weight regardless of how I balanced my blood chemistry through the foods I consume.   Balanced consumption and exercise activity go hand in hand.

I believe as science is finding out, I’m healthy for my age predominantly due to my animal diet preference and exercise habits from childhood; also awareness of man’s meddling with our foods for profit.  Now science confirms healthy blood results based in part on good eating habits, the way nature intended.

Reference:  What if Saturated Fat is not the ProblemLearn About Triglycerides and Levels

Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.





After Holiday Weight Gain Blues

23 01 2010

The End of Old Habits Are Near. Let Life Begin

Another year has gone by with all the Holiday décor and cheer with it.  I understand some of you had a tough time with the food choices and amount that you consumed.  And with this being said, should I dare say some of you are not only bummed out after you stepped on the scales, you are blue with depression.  This I understand and can definitely empathize.  The way I see it, you can continue to feed those screaming fat cells telling your stomach and brain it needs more, or you can deny them.  I know, easier said than done.  Cutting back after consuming all those rich foods will be the hardest thing you’ll do to get control of your weight for the New Year.  I also understand with the passing of the old year and in with the new, maybe last year’s resolutions to lose weight didn’t work out so well.  I’ve got to tell you; “don’t be so hard on yourself.”  There are many reasons weight gain occurs and I would never tell you I know what you are going through.    So many of us, when we get stressed, or traumatic change occurs in our lives, causes much long-term depression as well as over consumption of food.  Many at some point in time are at great risk of this prolonged weight gain habit being triggered during the Holiday season.  Because with the Holiday’s many emotions are triggered that can also set the stage leading to depression. 

Unfortunately too many of us deal with depression by consuming too much comfort food and drink.  After the consumption of too much rich food we get upset, frustrated and finally depressed about our weight because we don’t know why we can’t control this habit.  There is also an illness-disease cause and effect relationship that complicates controlling weight once we become obese.  At this point the mind-body “can” becomes susceptible to greater illness-disease risk.  For example, diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), congenital heart disease, fibromyalgia, phantom pain, etc.  Over eating for many years will cause much discourse and depression in one’s life which complicates weight management, mood, and pain picture, relationships we have with people and life goals. 

Although I’ve written many articles revolving around depression, fitness and pain management, I have not written an article with regard to food habit & depression relationship triggers.   In general, stressful life events cannot be avoided in life but can be minimized by understanding the stress triggers and food consumption patterns.”  Regardless of season, or any day for that matter, you must learn to change behavior and habits to take control of your weight goals and develop better stress coping skills.  These skills can be greatly improved through healthy food consumption, relationship associations (behavioral food trigger habits), activity and exercise.  Learn to realize the stress triggers and substitute healthy food and activity as a stress reducer, i.e., walk-window shop, read a good book, call a friend, eat organic, or Mediterranean diet etc.  Whatever you do, don’t go to the fridge or quick mart and have a binge session.  This habit is very hard to stop.  Seek professional help if depression lasts longer than 14 days or frequently returns and/or if you become obese as a result of your habits and can’t stop them. 

Holiday’s and weight gain relationship is something I understand and have worked to avoid during this eventful time of period.  And I know the screaming fat cells will get over themselves once one gets back to a normal routine after the festivities pass.  But all too often, it is too easy to continue the party into the New Year, or look to celebrate every weekend.  Don’t fall into this trap.  To carry this habit into one year and then the next is really unhealthy and depressing as I know you may be aware. 

Alright, I know I said “don’t be so hard on yourself,” and “I would never tell you I know what you are going through…”  However, there is a difference with cheerful event weight gain and short-term depression versus long-term weight gain and depression.  One is short lived and the other is not!  For a few, I would say your weight gain unfortunately may be due to a metabolic defect of the thyroid, or pancreas for example, in which case you require a physician’s treatment.  Any long-term weight gain that has become an unhealthy condition putting you at risk for more illness, disease, depression and pain requires a physician consultation and treatment!  However, there is no reason not to pursue changing your life style to fit habits that incorporate specialized medical treatment and advisement from your physician. 

I now present 8 prominent weight gain blues and depression habits people get themselves into and don’t necessarily know how to resolve the weight gain quagmire throughout the year.  Below I have listed eight hard to break weight gain problematic habits that need to be realized before successful long-lasting health benefits occur.  It is the hope that by exposing habit/behavior relationships, one can change these unhealthy habits into healthy habits that are enjoyable.  

 8 Prominent Weight Gain Blues Behavioral/Habits that Require Change,

  1.  Holiday Cheer Weight Gain – What can I say about Holiday Cheer Weight Gain that I haven’t mentioned in my previous writings.  Have a Holiday battle meal plan before you set down at the table.  Read the following article, “Holiday Weight Management Tips.”
  2.  Last Year’s Resolution to Lose Weight Failed – You know why you failed your weight loss program from previous years.  You did not resolve, or change your behavioral eating, drinking, or fitness habits.  To do so is still too painful for you for whatever the reason.  As I stated, “I will not pretend to know what you are going through…”  Until you can resolve and/or get serious about your weight loss/depression, or seek professional help, my fitness tips will fall on deaf ears.
  3.  Pain factor – All pain is directly related to illness, disease and/or injury.  And with pain comes more sedentary type activity.  It is for this reason, it is more important than ever you work with your primary physician and pain management specialists to find activities that you can do safely.  Also visit mirror athlete chronic pain center for other tips and recommendations.  All pain disorders are different and require customized fitness specialization in order to work around and prevent pain trigger aggravations, or worsen pain disorders.  It is for this reason you become proactive to find a fitness activity that you can participate in daily while pain managing with your physicians.
  4.  Stressful life events and comfort food – For many the trigger to eat comfort foods stems from everyday stress factors such as:  Work, bills, health, relationship, family issues, etc., the list goes on.  Stressful daily events can culminate into major depression and poor eating habits (these two things often go hand in hand).  This is a duel health hazard (impacts mental/physical) that effects millions of Americans causing the national obesity and ill-health mental crisis for our children as well.  We get so stressed out over our fast paced lives we can’t foresee how we could ever squeeze time in the day to maintain our overall fitness and healthy eating habits.  Then you tell yourself, I’ll take care of it later.  You must find time before, or after the day’s end to participate in a healthy fitness activity to thwart off daily stress and increase overall fitness levels.  Good diet and activity practices are important for the entire family where healthy habits is essential to establish early on in life and critical for good health “especially” as we age.    For example, my daily fitness activity is walking.  I also mix up the fitness activities with swimming at the local fitness center, light weights and other aerobic equipment.  My fitness habit is mid-day; although it was 5:30am and 12:00pm for many of my working years.  This habit for me reduced stress depression, built self-esteem, controlled my weight, and alleviated pain disorders while keeping the body fit.  I know AM routine seems tough at first, but become an addictive habit if you give it a try for a couple of weeks.  For most, I don’t recommend an after workout fitness habit unless it’s walking.  The stressful day will make the fitness habit seem like pulling teeth for which one will not adhere for a long period of time.  For instance, walking provides much less stressful and more relaxing with your spouse, kids, dogs in hand, etc., where stressful issues can be discussed into reasonable solutions and making better relationships.  I highly recommend mixing it up with after work walks and every other day morning fitness activity.  Look for weekend activities with family, e.g., hiking, camping, boating, walking the beach, visit historical places, etc. I promise you’ll get healthier while improving family relationships.
  5.  Carry the party into New Year – Some carry the end of year festivities into the New Year.  This behavior can last for months.  For many through the entire New Year.  The festive mood appears to keep your depression at bay while keeping you preoccupied with comfort eating, drinks and cheer with friends.  The basketball and baseball season is loaded with reason for bi-weekly celebration.  “First and foremost, you must understand this is occurring and must break this bad habit!”  It is not bad to watch sports, of course this may vary in opinion with your significant other as time is spent on viewing other than bonding.”  However, to continue the party festivities for weeks and months in over consumption indulgence will only drag on the inevitable weight gain and depression blues that accompanies this jovial behavior after the party. Although jovial is enjoyable and relaxing, too much of anything can be a bad recipe for disaster.  As we age and continue this type of lifestyle behavior, weight will pack on and become harder to lose creating many health risks.  If you’re hanging onto this habit and want to change, incorporate a plan to change using my recommendations here, or review anyone of my articles to assist in your weight management control and lifestyle change goals.
  6.  Fast foods after the Holiday’s rush continues. Too many Americans consume fast foods especially during the Holiday rush.  Here lies a crux for the American obesity problems.  During the Holiday’s everyone is in a rush to get the shopping done for gifts, Holiday meals and travel.  During this time there is a huge spike in fast foods and alcohol.  This is greatly reflected through our stock markets and retail purchases.  Yes, business booms almost in every sector of the economy, especially, retail, fast foods and spirits.  Let’s focus on fast foods.  Fast foods are convenient, chemically addictive and bad for your health in the long run.  Both fast food and drink easily bind one into an addictive habit that is hard to break if continued too long.  I’ve watched too many people throughout my life not understand the addiction, weight gain and ill health results from fast foods.  Most that continue the fast food habit don’t even realize this is creating their weight gain problem.  All too often after obesity strikes so does illness and disease.  If you are eating out more than once per week, this could very well be your weight gain problem.  I know, you’re thinking, what if I just give up the fast food places and eat out at restaurants?  While this is a better concept, you don’t know how much of the meals are preprocessed and then served, even in fine dining establishments.  Also, when you eat out most tend to eat more.  Instead of eating out, develop a healthy active habit of shopping for more organic type foods and preparing your own meals.  I highly recommend you read my article, “Restaurant Foods Healthy?
  7.  Love of Baking – I know, some of you carry your new found baking creativity and consumption habits into the New Year.  Although there is nothing wrong with healthy food baking habits, the pitfall is when you love everything you bake just a little too much.  I know the kids love your baking treats and it’s hard not to make cookies, cakes and pies after the Holidays.  Remember moderation with deserts.  Too much sugar, fats and salts are not good for anyone, even kids with fast metabolisms.  If you’re having a tough time with moderation of baking because of whatever is tugging at your apron, try changing up the desert menu a little.  Try to be creative with other types of deserts if the sweet tooth bug just won’t stop.  Try fruits-veggie tray, jello, pudding, etc.  Mix it up and break away from the continuous baking habit.  If you continue baking from one New Year into the next because you are the one that lacks the will power to balance this activity, I highly recommend you read the following article if you want to take back your weight control goals, “Will Power Weight Loss Secrets.”
  8.  Empty Nester’s Bake for an Army – Regardless of season, there are many empty nest couples that continue baking for their entire family after the children have left home.  There are many things tied into this habit which makes this pattern particularly tough to break, especially for those that want to take control of their weight.  And this is an especially tough feat if one wants to change the habit and the husband for example demands dinner meals that require traditional family recipes.  This is a tough to break psyche-food habit relationships for many empty nest couples.  For example, check out some of the tough relational habits after years of lifestyle practice:  Family dinners and social event food comforts; recipe serving portions equate to taste; favorite dishes tied to child personality, family traditions.  You continue to cook huge portions, eat bigger portions and/or store more.   The activity habit of hording food through continuous shopping may be a stress reliever as a form of social & physical activity.  You store excess foods in preparation for when family members visit.  You continue to invite your children and their children over for frequent mid-week and weekend meals.  You celebrate annual Holiday events to include sports playoffs with big meals whether family is there or not.  I could go on and on with this, but I think you get the picture.  Many empty nesters lived for their children where their food storing, preparation, celebration and eating habits were based on full house functionality.  As I stated, this is a tough habit to break but can be done.  If you fall into this category, you first must realize what you are doing and work to change this habit if weight loss and thwarting the blues and weight loss is your goal.  If you feel the need to change your traditional cooking habits into a healthy activity with your significant other…  Learn to cook Mediterranean type recipes, etc., and get exercise by walking to the local market to get the ingredients.  You will also have to learn to mix in your families favorite dish recipes, but modified to servings of two, three, four…   Also, make a huge effort to get in daily walks whether it’s coupled with a healthy walk meal shopping effort.  The idea is to get more activity and eat a healthier diet in proper proportions.  Walk to your local library, and pick up a healthy recipe books and/or look to take a Mediterranean, or low calorie healthy cooking class.  Consider previous MAE articles and apply this information to your lifestyle.  Visit Mirror Athlete’s health repository for other healthy habit weight loss and management tips and recommendations files under weight, holiday, depression and diet.

 After the Holiday’s it can be easy to get into a pattern of never ending “feel good binge eating habits” for whatever the reason and carried into the next New Year.  Just as any one, or combinations of reasons above apply to your particular weight gain and depression blues scenario through each passing year.  You cannot continue to mask your depression blues through food, year after year because your food habit controls your will power to change.  Once you begin to eat healthy and exercise, your fitness levels improve dramatically.  You’ll have the energy to walk and/or become involved in healthier hobby-exercise activities.  And with this habit change the depression blues will become infrequent to rare. 

 I would just like to end this article by providing a valuable bit of insight.  Too many people don’t understand this food habit relationship and the ill-effects it has on quality living.  The same is also true of natural addictive brain chemical stimulation through a more active life style and the effect it plays on weight loss and mood.  And with this being said, it is sad to say, all too many are now prescribed anti-depression pills to boost serotonin levels in the brain to make us feel better on a daily basis.  This does absolutely, or very little to promote increased activity, changing daily habits and weight management.  There is also known “secondary health risks” that “can/do” occur through long-term use of psychotropic prescriptions.  Instead, it would be wise to consider the natural alternatives in combating obesity and depression through increased activity which will naturally boost serotonin levels for healthy body, mind and soul.  If you now use psychotropic prescriptions to combat depression and it’s further complicating your health goals, please read the following article, “Activate Addictive Healthy Chemicals.”   Do not stop your medication; simply consider incorporating exercise and eating healthier while you work with your doctor.  You may be able to get off the medication, or reduce the dosage dependency, thereby decreasing other serious health risks. 

 Write us about your weight loss success and removing depression from your life.    We’ll publish your New Year’s resolution success story and identify your post with a first name and state you reside in.  Or make a comment in the posting log where this linked article resides in our healthrepository.  Simply email us with how you changed your habits to lose weight and/or thwart the blues and we’ll post for you under this article.  May this year be your year for weight loss success and defeating depression.  Good health to you and your family! 

 Author:  Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, USA Medical Services Officer, CPT, RET2010 Copyright.  All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Publishing @: http://www.mirrorathlete.com,  Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.